Defining Naturalistic Spirituality

Over the last 50 years in the UK, the proportion of the population identifying as non-religious – often referred to as ‘Nones’ – has been on the rise. The British Social Attitudes Survey from 2019 found that over half (52%) of the UK population regard themselves as belonging to no religion. Hannah Waite, from the think…

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Mudita (Sympathetic Joy): One of the Hardest Buddhist Virtues to Cultivate

Mudita (sympathetic/empathetic joy) is one of the four brahma-viharas (also known as the sublime attitudes or Four Immeasurables), which are the Buddha’s “heart practices” – those that develop particular emotional states, or virtuous emotions, that help to cultivate happiness in ourselves and others. “Brahma-vihara” literally means “dwelling place of brahmas”, and brahmas are gods who…

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Pitfalls Associated With Metta Bhavana (Loving-Kindness Meditation)

There is an increasing amount of attention being paid to the risks of meditation, a practice that – through its mainstreaming – has wholly been associated with calmness and mental health benefits. However, a growing body of research and first-person accounts are revealing that mindfulness meditation – particularly when it’s intensive and prolonged, as on…

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Applying Pascal’s Wager to Animal Ethics

Blaise Pascal (1623-62) was a French mathematician, physicist, philosopher, and Catholic theologian. One of his most influential contributions to the philosophy of religion is a philosophical argument known as Pascal’s wager. This idea was published posthumously in Pascal’s Pensées (“Thoughts”).  This post will describe how Pascal’s wager can be usefully applied to animal ethics, namely,…

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As in the Streets, So in the Mind: Flânerie as a Way of Thinking and Living

Flânerie refers to the lifestyle practice of walking aimlessly (typically around a city, with Paris being the epitomical city of the flâneur – the street wanderer). I analysed this concept in a previous post, touching on its historical, philosophical, literary, and cultural dimensions. However, flânerie extends well beyond the limits of the city, or I…

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